For this assignment, you’ll need to create a meme (specifically an image macro (see Davison)) that plays on an idea or technology we’ve covered in this class so far, share it, and briefly reflect on the experience of making and sharing it. If you have not yet read Patrick Davison’s article on internet memes, please do so. More on image macros is here and here.

Here’s the assignment in detail:

1. Create your meme: Make an image macro (a LOL Cat, Advice Dog, Philosoraptor, something completely original, anything) from scratch or with a meme generator — ( and are good ones but there are many others — Google is your friend). Use your imagination, be creative but make sure what you create speaks to the any of the concepts, tools, or technologies we’ve focussed on in this class since the start of the term.

2. Write a blog post in which you a) embed your creation and b) reflect briefly on the choices you made and on the process of creating it. You can embed your image using code from the image generator site you used or by uploading it directly by clicking the “Upload/Insert” button above the box where you enter text to write your post. (Detailed instructions for working with images, including uploading an image from a URL are here.) If you run into trouble embedding, feel free to email me and to ask the B@B admins for help.

In your brief reflection, be sure to explain why you chose the image and topic you did and to discuss the process of creating the image macro briefly. What did you do? How did you do it? Why did you choose to do it that way?

This post is due any time before 12:00pm on Wednesday, November 21. Please post any questions in the comments section below.


Ok, folks, so here we are at the end of the term. Below are your instructions for the final project. Please feel free to post questions in the comments section. As discussed in class, a project proposal is due in class on Monday, 11/19.

Your final project will consist of two parts:

1) An individual OR group digital project (this can be video, or audio, or a wiki, a website, a gallery of images, or whatever else — we will generate some ideas in class) that somehow engages some of the ideas, concepts, or thinkers we’ve been discussing in class.

You might, for example, make a short movie that explains the Creative Commons, or a multimedia tutorial on Manovich’s theory of new media, a brief radio program around the idea of “the medium is the message.” Be creative. Take a chance. If you need to borrow audio/video equipment or need help with software, etc. please do not hesitate to let me know. I will do what I can to help you through this process. We’ll discuss all this in detail in class.

2) An individual (you only) 5-8pp essay that discusses, in detail, the process of creating your final project as well as on the ways in which it speaks to our readings and the broader themes of this class.

Consider the following in composing your essay: (You don’t need to address every single one of these, but use them in composing your essay).

Why did you choose to do approach your project the way you did? Was this a group or individual decision? In either case, describe the process of coming up with your project idea and with your initial plan. What role did your teammates play in the initial planning?

Which concepts or broader topics did you reference or address in your project? Why? Why did you choose your particular topic or concepts? How does your project speak to, draw on or engage them? What, in other words, does your project say about the ideas you chose to explain, satirize, revise, mock, etc.?

How does your project engage our readings?  How did any of the assigned readings influence your thinking about your project and how you carried it out? Which readings were especially useful? How and why? Feel free to discuss, if briefly, any specific ideas from our readings that you feel influenced you.

Discuss the process of carrying out your project in as much detail as possible. What was the planning like? If you shot video, where did you shoot and when? Who was involved in the shoot? Why? What role did everyone play? What were some of the challenges you encountered? Did you have to deviate from your original plan? Why? How? How did that affect the end result? What happened after you shot your footage, made your images, recorded your audio, etc.? Who did what? What was the post-production process like? Did you encounter any snags along the way?

How and to what extent does the project you turned in resemble the one you had in mind when you first started working on it? Why do you think that is? Did you end up with something you did not expect to end up with? How might you explain that? Does it offer any insights for similar projects you might undertake in the future?

You get the idea. We will brainstorm some in class as well.

Both parts of this assignment are due at the start of our final exam session on Monday, December 17.


Here are a few items related to Wednesday’s discussion:

MaKey MaKey cold cut drums

The MaKey MaKey is essentially an Arduino, an open source prototyping platform. Lots and lots of Arduino projects can be found here. Here’s the project that begat the one you see below.

Your Prof.’s first Arduino project. Circuits on a breadboard attached to an Arduino. This is a modification of the most basic Arduino project.

A DrawBot made with an Arduino. You can see it at the top center of the board.

A kit-built RepRap 3D printer, that works just like the Makerbot we saw in class. All the purple parts were printed on a similar machine. The whole idea behind the RepRap project is to create 3D printers that print 3D printers.


Below, as promised, is a video of Clay Shirky speaking at Baruch in 2010. His talk is essentially a distillation of both Here Comes Everybody and Cognitive Surplus. Some of his arguments here will be very familiar.


This time, you have a choice of one of two prompts. Choose one. Don’t do both. (Unless you really want to.)

1. How-To: Create a tutorial for doing something — anything you are good at. Give your reader step by step instructions for doing something, be it baking cookies, playing a game, making a computer program do something, using a smartphone app, knitting, finding information — something you know how to do well that you can teach others to do as well. It need not be related to technology or social media.

Your tutorial can be either written instructions  or a video of you going through the steps.  Videos need to be embedded in your blog post. If you choose the video option, write a few sentences explaining why you chose your subject matter. If you’re doing something computer related, use screenshots for your images. Instructions for taking screenshots are at the site linked below.

An example of a simple text tutorial that you can follow if you wish is my recent post on adding a CC license to your blog. Another simple one is here. Here’s another. There are lots of examples on the internet so do a google search for “tutorial if you’d like to see other examples. If appropriate to your topic and you choose to do a video, you can use Jing, a free screencast tool.

2. Adventures in Wikiing: Create a Wikipedia account and then do something on the site: create an article, edit an article, participate in a discussion on an article’s or user’s Talk page — whatever you want. Keep an eye on the changes or contributions you made (you can learn a lot by looking at the history of a post) and then write a few paragraphs describing what happened and reflecting upon it: what did you do on Wikipedia for this assignment? Why? What happened? Why? Did anyone respond or change what you did? Did someone comment on it on a Talk page? What are your impressions of this experience?

You may want to take screenshots of your changes or article in case they are deleted. Heres how to take a screenshot in Mac, Windows, and other devices.

Remember to categorize your post “blogging assignments.” You may also wish to add tags to your post. And don’t forget to comment on at least 2 post by your classmates.

As always, post questions or comments in the comment section below.

This blogging assignment is due by Friday, 10/5.


Some of you may choose to add a Creative Commons license to your site. Before you do that, however, understand what a CC license will do and what you’re getting into. The Creative Commons site offers a pretty good explanation of what CC is and what it means to licence your work CC. This article from WIRED UK on why they went with a CC license might be helpful as well. Here’s a bit on what what it means for YouTube to adopt CC licensing.

Now to business:

While some themes include a widgetized area for something like a CC license, the easiest way to add one to most themes is as follows.

First, visit the CC site, click on the green “Choose a License” button and select the license you’d like. Once you do that, you will be able to choose the style of CC license button you’ll have on your site and will be able to copy the code that’s been generated for you.

Select and copy the code to your clipboard. Next, go to the dashboard of your site (make sure you’re logged in.) In the menu on the far right, click on “Appearance,” and then select “Widgets.” That should take you to the widget page. On that page, look for a button that says “Text.” Click and drag that all the way to the right sidebar where you should see other widgets that appear on your site.

Once you do that and put the text widget where you want it, click on the down arrow icon to the right of “Text.” This will allow you to paste your license into the text widget. It should look something like this:

Once you’ve done this and clicked the “Save” button, your CC license button will appear in your sidebar or footer or wherever you chose to put it. Please post questions of corrections in the comments.

Tagged with:

Printing a classical bust with PLA, a corn starch based plastic.

For your next blog post, please respond to the 3D printing demo you saw in class yesterday. (If you missed class, take a look at this  and this one from Wired) Consider the implications of desktop 3D printing. Is this the next big thing? If so, why? Do yo want a 3D printer in your home? If so, what would you make with it and why? How might we make sense of 3D printing with what we’ve read for class so far? This post is due Friday by noon.

Baruch College students watching a 3D printer in action.


So here’s your next prompt:

Reflect on the process of writing the short paper due this Wednesday. Consider some of these questions in crafting your response. You don’t need to answer every single one in your post. rather, use them as a guide in preparing your post:

What were the steps you took in writing your paper? Did you create an outline or take notes? Why or why not? Did you write multiple drafts? Why did you choose to write on what you chose to write about? What choices did you make in constructing your argument? Was it difficult to write the piece? Why or why not? If it was difficult, what might have made it easier? Did writing the piece give you new insights into McLuhan? Why or why not? What might you say about the role of digital tools and media play in the composition of your paper?

Please feel free to post any questions about this assignment in the comments section of this post. Also, please be sure to comment on two other posts in response to this assignment. You can access your classmates’ sites by clicking on their names in the right sidebar of this site.


Here’s the handout Meechal passed out in class on Wednesday:

COMMUNICATION FELLOW: I have been assigned to your class by the Bernard L. Schwartz Communication Institute to help you refine your communication skills. My specific role is to work with you on your group oral presentation I will be assisting you in HOW you deliver what you want to say in your presentation. YOU are responsible for the content, for WHAT you say. In order for me to help you with your presentation, you are all required to meet with me ONCE before your presentation.

PRESENTATIONS (FROM YOUR COURSE BLOG): Each presentation should be between 20-30 minutes in length and will serve as an introduction to that session’s reading and key ideas. The presentations should engage the issues raised by the reading and will, depending on the particular topic, offer more detailed analyses of the topic at hand.  The most successful presentations will be well planned and thoroughly researched, and will include handouts or another sort of visual aid. The group presenting will be responsible leading the discussion on the day of the presentation. A Communication Fellow from the Schwartz Communication Institute will be available to help you plan and rehearse your presentations. You and your group are required to meet with the Fellow at least once in preparing for your presentation.


- Rehearsals are 90 minutes.

- Once you know when your group is presenting, please have someone (one person) in your group email me. We will then work together to choose a time for your rehearsal. The person who emails me will be the representative for the group – not a group leader, but simply a contact person.

- Everyone in the group needs to be present for the rehearsal. Everyone must come on time and be able to stay for the whole session. NO exceptions.

- You need to come with a finished presentation. This is a rehearsal, not an opportunity to write the first draft. Ideally, your group will have already rehearsed before coming for the rehearsal with me.  The more you bring, the more you’ve worked, and the more prepared you are, the more I can help.

-Do not forget to bring the presentation with you to the rehearsal. If you have slides, bring them on a flash drive or have them in your email. If you have any handouts or props, bring them.

- Scheduling these meetings can be a very complicated affair. The sooner we book an appointment the better, so make sure someone in the group emails me right away to get the scheduling process rolling. Also, be aware that rescheduling is often very difficult. Make sure the time we choose is definitely do-able for everyone.


Double spaced, standard 12pt font (Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, etc.), approximately 2 pages.
Due Wednesday, Sept. 12 in class.

The assignment:
This is a more formal version of what you did in your first blog post. Choose a short passage (1-3 sentences) from one of the assigned readings (McLuhan (The Medium is the Massage and excerpts from Understanding Media), or Williams) that you found particularly interesting, illuminating, provocative, or otherwise significant and write a brief essay discussing your interpretation of this passage and why you think it is important to your understanding to the central arguments. Please include your passage at the top of the page and be sure to note the author and the source, including page number.

Consider the following questions and use them to help you formulate a response; you don’t have to answer every one. What does the passage mean? Does it mean something different on its own than it does in the context of this essay? Why? How are the ideas in the passage related to the author’s main argument? What can you say about the meanings of individual words, particularly the technical terms? Do particular words have more than one meaning in the sentence? Try to really dig into the quote you’ve chosen — look at it as closely as you can.

Some Tips:

  • Before you start writing, take some time looking at your quote, taking notes, looking up words, or whatever else you need to do to formulate your argument. Try to have some sort of idea of what you will say before you start writing. Good planning is a large part of good writing.
  • Support your arguments with evidence from the text, your own experiences, or other relevant sources. Make sure you back up your assertions.
  • Don’t worry about impressing your reader with fancy vocabulary and sophisticated syntax; big words and convoluted sentence structure do not necessarily make good writing. Don’t use a thesaurus and make sure that you know the meaning of each word you use. Work to get your thoughts across clearly and accurately rather than to impress your reader. Substance is much more important here than style but proofread carefully and avoid careless mistakes.
  • If any of this is unclear, or if you think you might have misunderstood the instructions, be sure to let me know. You can post a question in a comment if you’d like or email me.

As I noted on the syllabus, the posting you do on your blog and the comments you leave on others’ posts count towards your participation grade. So, if you have not done so already, please create your own Blogs@Baruch site and share your URL with me. Instructions for doing this are here.

I am asking all of you to post regularly over the course of the semester. Please post a response to the prompt below by the end of the week. Keep in mind that your blog is your own corner of the web and you may post to it as often as you like.

I also ask that you read and comment substantively on others’ posts. The more you comment, the richer the blogging experience will be for everyone. I am not going to require you to comment a specific number of times but will suggest that you should try to comment at least two or three times a week. If you are someone who tends not to speak much during class discussion, commenting frequently is a great way to make up for that and ensure that your participation grade does not suffer. I’ll say more about commenting in class.

At this point, you’re probably wondering what it is you will be blogging about. Rightly so. So here’s our current blogging prompt:

The Prompt

For your first post, I’d like you to react to The Medium is the Massage. Find something in the text (a passage, an idea, an image, etc.) that struck you as particularly interesting or provocative or difficult and discuss it. Explain why it struck you the way it did. If you choose to write about a passage you didn’t understand, help your reader understand why you found it difficult. If you choose one that you found interesting or provocative or prophetic, be clear about why you responded to it the way you did.

Please feel free to include videos or images or other media in your post.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please be sure to select “blog assignments” in the list of categories on the right before you publish your post. If you don’t see that category, feel free to create it by clicking on “+ Add New Category.”

Before you write: Keep in mind that your post is not a term paper. It should be more exploratory and open ended (not to mention shorter). Your post’s goals are to 1) enable you and your readers to play around with new and interesting ideas and 2) to generate conversation rather than present a finished, polished argument. I don’t expect you to have all the answers, but to move towards finding them. Don’t be afraid to ask your readers questions.

I am happy to discuss post ideas with you so if you are stuck and don’t know what to post about, let me know and we can brainstorm together. If you have questions about the blogging assignment in general or any aspect of the prompt above, feel free to ask it in the comments to this post.

A Note on Blogging: A blog is a kind of online journal or diary. Blog posts are usually less formal and more conversational than the sort of academic writing you are typically asked to do. There is more room for creativity and experimentation here than in the typical academic paper in no small part due to the fact that you can easily incorporate various media — still images, video, or audio.

Your audience and purpose are different here as well. You’re writing not for a professor to whom you hope to demonstrate mastery of your subject matter, but sharing ideas with a broader audience — your “readership” — who, in this case consists of your classmates, me, and whoever happens to visit your site and read your post. Keep in mind that your writing to this blog is public — don’t be surprised if you get a comment form someone not enrolled in this class.

Try to have fun with your posts and comments. Keep in mind that your blog is your own space to publish stuff you create. Make it a home on the web. Take pride in it.


Below are side A and B of The Medium is the Massage audio recording released in 1967 as a companion to the book by McLuhan and Fiore from the amazing It’s groovy. Enjoy.

The Medium is the Massage, Side A

The Medium is the Massage, Side B


In order to syndicate your blog posts on this site, I need your URLs. Please post your URLs into a comment and share with us the title of your site, the theme you used, and why.  Your comment might look something like this:

I’ve titled my site “Joe Blow’s Really Cool Site” and used the Pagelines Platform theme because I want to customize my site and the Pageline theme allows that without changes to CSS or other theme files. The URL is:

You can make your URL a live link in your comment by using the following HTML tags in the comment:

<a href=”yoururl”>youururl</a>


Welcome to the online home of CIS3810: Principles of New Media. Make yourself at home, introduce yourself.

Here’s what you are in for:

Course description (from the About page).

This course will offer a survey of key ideas in media studies and will explore how interactive media technologies are changing the ways in which we communicate, consume, create, do business, learn, make knowledge, and act individually or collectively as citizens. We will approach new media from a cultural perspective, with a focus on how media technologies figure in practices of everyday life and in the construction of various social relationships and identities. We will work from a broad definition of “social media,” considering social network sites, smartphone apps, and online games, among other electronic media. We will likewise explore how interactive technologies enable us to become producers as well as consumers of content. We will approach the Internet as generative and will ourselves create and share various media including images, video and audio. We will, in other words, actively participate in the phenomena that we study.

Course Objectives

1) Students will be introduced to the key principles and theory of new media
2) Students will critically engage the development of computer mediated communication
3) Students will explore the social implications of the proliferation of new media as well as the ways in which they figure in and shape the practice of everyday life
4) Students will become familiar with and proficient with online tools, resources and techniques for production and sharing of electronic media including images, video, and audio.

Here’s to an exciting semester!